Tag Archives: Mail

How to drive your customer relationships using mail and email

Last year I wrote about the impact of digital on mail and email.multi channel services

Whilst there maybe a genuine perception that print is on the decline the Royal Mail report found otherwise.

Print and email working in collaboration and using cross media marketing, (also referred to as multi channel marketing) works very effectively.

I am often asked for advice on how to go about adopting a multi channel marketing strategy.

Why I will not profess to being a marketing expert my knowledge of print combined with personalisation and social media gives me the objectivity to look at a marketing campaign and help define it for the customer.

I thought I would share with you a recent marketing/print campaign Digital Print Management fulfilled for one of its customers.

stay on targetThe starting point has to be what do you hope to get out of it?

By this, I mean not ‘more business’ or more customers, we all want that but what objectives do you want to get out of your campaign?

Being able to interact with your customers and prospects through multi channel marketing is necessary for companies to get their message out

Here’s an example of a cross media campaign using mail and email ?iStock_000026350319Small

Generating interest with print by using an interesting and engaging format so that when it lands on the doormat the consumer is highly likely to read and do something with it or take action.

A car dealership has a target list of 3,750 customers whom they would like to get in contact with and who haven’t visited their dealership in the last 18 months.

The key objective of marketing to these people is to motivate customers to come back to the dealership by scheduling a routine service and by offering a free oil change and a 15% discount off the standard service.

  • The dealership sends out personalised postcards with PURLs – the postcards and emails are uniquely personalised and individualised according to each customer’s past purchasing history
  • The customers receive the postcards and some do respond to the PURL – the invitation to visit the PURL is a way of inviting the customer to redeem coupons that they can then use at the dealership against a service/oil change
  • The inclusion of a PURL ensures that all the responses and updates are captured and the customer data list is updated
  • The response actions that are captured from the PURL trigger a personalised email which is sent to those respondents who didn’t respond inviting them to click onto the same PURL
  • A follow up email is then scheduled to go out to those who didn’t take up the offer in 5 days

Stacked MailThis is the customer decision stage by sending the prospects a mail piece that communicates a clear and persuasive benefit with a link to your website is more likely to encourage engagement.

When customers respond using the PURL they arrive at a personalised landing page which has their name and address details.

They are asked to confirm or update their details and then request to enter a code which is printed on the email or postcard so they can redeem their coupons.

Once the purchase is made, in this instance the redeeming of coupons an email is generated welcoming them back to the dealership; a welcome pack which is highly personalised is then sent out to them.

Whilst they are redeeming their coupons there are a whole host of other coupons that they can also redeem in exchange for more information about the condition of the car, how old it is, when was the last time they had it serviced, what time of day do they prefer to schedule a service, do they own more than one car from the same manufacturer.

Each coupon they click on encourages the customer to give more information which can later be used for future campaigns.

Where do I start?

Identify your marketing objective? In the above example it was to get in contact with former customers of the car dealership.

Do you have accurate data? In this example the dealership had a defined customer contact base of 3,750 former customers.

What technology or platform are you using? Can you manage this in-house if so how will it be managed and do you have the technology/software and resources to ensure it’s monitored through to completion.

OR

Outsource it to a cross media specialist  who can work with you and design the campaign to meet your objectives.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

To ensure successful results there must be a planning process – who is your target audience, which media channels are right, what offer(s) and how then are the responses going to be captured and used.

Keeping the offer relevant and personalised to the customer should yield positive results.

Before managing a large campaign plan a test run with different offers, this will hi-light what works and what doesn’t, the campaign can then be upgraded to include your target audience, whatever the size.

A follow up plan is crucial to keep the momentum going and in this instance the follow up process which included an email could also include a postcard was used where people hadn’t responded in 5 days.

All actions and responses were measured when the customer clicked through to the PURLs.

The highly targeted and personalised win back stage is useful where customers have parted with information but have chosen not to redeem vouchers, sending a follow up mail piece is a useful way of staying in touch with those prospects that didn’t redeem their coupons.

How to avoid the pitfalls

  1. Be selective when it comes to the channels you intend to communicate your offer, too much and it becomes another sales blast.
  2. Whilst I’m a big advocate of personalisation, too much of ‘Hi Caroline, Caroline it’s been 18 months since, Caroline we think you might like this’ and so on then becomes a pain and is immediately off putting.
  3. Make the offer relevant and meaningful
  4. No campaign will be 100% successful first time out. Be prepared to modify, adapt and test the offer
  5. Keep any content either in print or digital relevant to the offer and to your audience

Some things to think about?

Sending paper bills or statements encourages retention and faster payment by using the white space on a paper bill or electronic statement to promote any services and offers you are promoting.

Renewal – as renewal time approaches send your customers a personalised mail piece that reminds them of the benefits they will receive as well as the future benefits they will be able to access after they have renewed with your.

Following up with an email is a great way to get them to make a decision but also makes them feel valued.

You can also find more information here 

 

How to mail out your letters on a budget using a hybrid mail solution?

 

We are often asked can we just mail out 300 invoices or 300 of anything come to thing of it?

The answer is very definitely YES, you can!

Sometimes the volume might be more or less but by using a hybrid mail solution an SME is guaranteed to save money on postage, printing and processing.

Hybrid mail is a combination of printing and posting as a bundled service and we can combine small mailings for many customers and use DSA (Downstream Access ) pricing which saves you time and money on postage.

How?

Easy.

Using your web browser you can access our print-2-mail web portal and we provide you with a user name and password. There’s no software to install and you can use a PC or Mac.

If you have a document you want to print and send out, print-2-mail does the rest. The document needs to be converted to a PDF first.

By downloading the print driver you don’t even need to create PDF’s. Selecting the print driver launches the application, uploads your documents and converts them to PDF’s.

The print driver is easy to download as the interface provides a “print driver download”

What can I use hybrid mail for?

Pretty much any document you need to print and mail out.

You can print virtually any type of A4 document, single or double-sided, colour or black on white only. There’s no limit to the number of pages so reports, dissertations even and customer letters are fine.

You can load variable length documents so invoices and statements are no problem. You simply create the document before you load them to the system.

 What do I need?

An internet connection and the most up to date web browser – Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP or 9 for Windows Vista or Windows 7, Mozilla Firefox 12 or Google Chrome.

When the application opens you have the option to print single and multiple page letters, in black or colour with the option of uploading your company logos.

Simply add your logo to the document as an image and we can print it along with the letter.

The wizard (there are seven steps) has been set up so you can walk through it and process your document quickly and efficiently.

The mailing wizard takes care of incomplete addresses by providing suggestions and it tidies your addresses as well. This is done using the Royal Mail’s PAF database (Postcode Authentication Finder) On completion of the address validation the wizard can create an accurate address file that can be downloaded as a PDF so you can make sure your customer addresses are accurate and complete.

How quickly will my mailing be posted out?

You have two options ‘Same Day” and “Next Day”. For same day all orders placed by 4PM are printed and mailed the same day. For next day, any orders placed up to midnight day 1 are printed and mailed out the next day. 

How secure is it?

The system is very secure and documents are uploaded using an encrypted HTTPS connection (the same standard used for on line banking). All your documents are printed in an APACS approved, ISO27001 security print factory.

How much does it cost?

Until you’ve completed the wizard and finalised your print options, the summary page will summarise the total cost of your mailing at the end of the process so before you print you will know exactly what you will pay. Suffice to say it will be less than the cost of a 2nd class stamp and it includes, the paper, printing, folding, inserting and mailing out!

There is no contractual obligation so if you choose to use it only once then that’s up to you. But we are so confident that you’ll love it that you will wonder why how you managed before.

Now for the really good news…

Apart from calling us initially for a demo that’ll be the last time you’ll need to talk to us so that really is good news!

Which means that you can just get on and print and mail whenever you need to you’ll have control over what you print, when and where you post out.

For regular news and updates please do follow us on twitter, like us on Facebook and connect with us on Linkedin. You can also find us on google+ too! If you happen to like joining circles that is!

 

Hybrid Mail Solutions. How to save money when you post out anything!

Invoices, Statements, Letters, Customer Letters, Emergency Mailings, Debt Collection Letters, Holiday Greetings, Birthday invitations. Hybrid Mail Solutions.

Our Print-2-Mail solution straight from your desk top.

Our Print-2-Mail solution straight from your desk top.

As an organisation you will be posting out customer letters, mailshots, invoices and statements but the problem is COST and TIME.

The recent increases in postage have meant that companies have had to get smarter and more inventive when it comes to sending out customer letters.

E-billing, e-mailshots all have a very important place in the hierarchical scheme of things.

Certain documents such as legislative financial documents which are required to be paper; or customers who specifically request a paper document mean that you still need to have some kind of in-house print and mail solution.

Our desk top mailing solution

Using our Print-2-Mail service posting out the aforementioned documents just got a whole lot easier!

How?

Because with print-2-mail you can still mail out the same documents to your customers. It’s cheap,  it’s quick and you still retain control.

Why?

Using hybrid mail which is a combination of printing and posting as a bundled service. By combining small mailings for lots of customers and by utilising DSA (Downstream Access) pricing the process is very cost effective.

How do I save money? 

Print-2-Mail can reduce your mailing costs!

  • Increased staff productivity – staff no longer have to load and manage printers or stuff envelopes
  • Reduced postage costs – we sort your mail, consolidate it so you benefit from significant postal discounts
  • Reduced in-house equipment costs – general office printer usage goes down, cost of consumables is reduced because you are not using so much
  • Reduced stationery and consumable costs
  • Reduced paper wastage – using our postal validation system you can amend missing or incorrect addresses; alternatively you can download a PDF and ensure your customer database is up to date with the current postal address
  • Pay as you go – with no set up fee or software installation, print-2-mail enables you to send letters quickly and conveniently in the UK (Airmail coming soon)
  • Improved customer interaction – because the process is so quick and easy to use, your customers will benefit from your latest news; invoices will be printed when you need them
  • 1st and 2nd class mailings options are available to you and where letters exceed 15 pages they will go into a C4 envelope; pages exceeding 80 will be packaged accordingly

How do I control what is being mailed?

The Print-2-mail shop is so easy to use; every step of the way you can see what your total spend is, decide on colour or black and white, choose your postal service, it even manages documents that have variable pages for example you might have customers that receive single pages and others that may have extra sheets; our software  identifies those pages and manages the process seamlessly. From the dashboard you are able to manage your users and set budget levels. You can set up user permissions and monitor your print and mailing spend. You may want only the marketing department to have the option of printing in colour and other departments black and white documents. You can set a spend limit, determine which postage service is selected and  ensure corporate branding is maintained.

How can print-2-mail work for you?

Print-2-mail enables you to process your documents in a matter of minutes mailings can include mail shots, debt collection letters, emergency letter mailings, invoices, statements and general communication letters.

Aside of the obvious cost savings on print, fulfilment and postage there are the invisible cost savings of energy, equipment, stationery and consumables.

You can send out from 1 to 1,000’s of letters you can do this daily, monthly or; as and when you need to; there are no minimum volumes or minimum usage if you choose to use it for a month and then decide not to continue with the service there is no penalty for doing so!

That’s it, couldn’t be simpler or easier to use. If you want to see the benefits of our print-2-mail solution then request a demo now by filling in the form below or calling us: 01234-271156.

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3 Ways to Reduce Postage Costs

Postage

If you still mail out letters and bills there are some options that will save time and money

Businesses rely heavily on the Royal Mail in spite of the internet and the availability of sending documents electronically.

The UK Royal Mail increased their charges from April 2013 and businesses who use a multi-distribution method for delivery of their customer letters such as post and electronic delivery will no doubt have felt the impact of the postage costs on their bottom-line.

Despite the increase and depending on what volumes you mail out in a month there are 3 ways that can help you reduce the expenditure.

Using a print and mailing service provider offers a number of tangible benefits that will save you time and money. You can read more about how the service works here.

Use DSA (downstream access)

DSA is the term used to describe mail which has been collected and distributed by a competitor of the Royal Mail but is delivered into the Royal Mail centres for final processing in to local offices.

The cost savings per envelope depending on weight can be substantial and savings can be up to 13p per envelope using 2nd class mail. (Price will vary subject to weight)

Good Database Management

By ensuring that your data is current and reliable removes the issue of duplication.

Many companies over look the importance of recording their customers address and contact details and this results in duplicated addresses and most likely duplicated invoices arriving on the customers door step.

Maintaing your billing database (clicking on the link here will explain why data cleansing is important for your business) on a regular basis shows best practice and will save time and money and it doesn’t have to be a costly exercise.

A print and mailing service provider can check for errors and duplications using de-duping software.

envelopes

Address Inaccuracies

Sending invoices or statements to an incorrect address or defunct address can be costly!

Not only does the invoice go unpaid but the invoice then has to be re-printed and mailed out again effectively doubling your postage charge and increasing the processing and print time.

Incomplete addresses result in items being undelivered unless there is a return address on the envelope which will ensure the item is forwarded to the originator of the envelope.

But incorrectly or incomplete addresses means that the invoices have to be painstakingly checked and re-issued correctly. This takes up valuable company resources and slows cash collection too.

If you are faced with the challenge of getting your documents out on time there is an alternative solution called hybrid mail. If you click here you can find out more about what the service can do to speed up the mailing out process.

If you call Digital Print Management on 01234-271156 and ask for Caroline or drop us your email address here one of expert advisors will talk it through with you. What best suits your needs when it comes to mailing out your documents.

6 ways to reduce your invoice printing costs

Invoice processing and fulfilment

Even if you still need to send out paper based invoices there are still some things you can do to save money and reduce time

Aside of the physical printing of your invoices, there are other ancillary costs that are associated with the invoice printing process such as the toner, other consumables, paper, time taken by staff and the cost of postage. E-billing is slowly replacing the paper based bill but even if you are in the throes of making that conversion not all of your customers will be willing to comply to receiving your e-bill.

I am assuming that you are not sending an email with a .pdf bill attached that is not e-billing, that is sending a .pdf as an attachment.

Here is a quick overview on how to save money when you print and process your customer invoices.

1. Batch invoices for one company into a single envelope

It’s surprising the number of organisations that send out single invoices for each transaction rather than consolidating customers invoices into one envelope. This in itself can give you greater reductions in postage costs. Moreover, the customer wont thank you if they receive 10 envelopes when one will do.

If this is a manual process then unfortunately it will take time to ensure that your customer invoices are matched and inserted in to the envelope. You can automate the entire process by outsourcing the print and mailing process altogether. Click here to find out how.

2. Change the size of the envelope you use for posting out your documents

This seems obvious but surprisingly many companies use a standard DL size envelope and end up having to send out 3-4 envelopes to the same customer. This can cause another issue when the customer receives envelope 3 but envelopes 1 and 2 arrive later due to the inconsistent delivery of the Royal Mail.

Changing from a DL size envelope to a C5 (this is half the size of an A4 sheet of paper) will enable you to insert at least 15 A4 folded sheets comfortably. The importance here is making sure that you match the right documents for the same customer into the envelope as discussed above.

3. Postage discounts are available from the Royal Mail and via DSA (downstream access)

If you can pre-sort your mail internally and according to the mail providers criteria postage discounts could be anything from between 10% – 40% per envelope which represents a big saving on the bottom line. If you outsource the process then its possible to gain greater discounts using Downstream Access.

DSA is mail that has been collected and distributed by a competitor, but is delivered in to Royal Mail mail centres for final processing onto local delivery offices ready for delivery.

4. Invalid or incorrect addresses 

Invoice printing

Invoice printing

A sure fire way to end up having a steady flow of undeliverable invoices is having incomplete or incorrect address details. An accounts system that is regularly maintained and administered will reduce the number of returned or undelivered envelopes. Additionally an incomplete address will not qualify for pre-sortation discounts.

Make sure that your envelopes have a return address on the flap so that the Royal Mail can forward those items that weren’t delivered back to you.

5. Encourage the uptake of an electronic bill instead of a paper version

More and more companies are making it easier for their customers to sign up for e-billing. It is one of the single most effective ways of reducing costs and administration associated with print and mailing of invoices and statements!

6.White Space Management

Often overlooked but in simply terms use your paper invoice as a vehicle to hi-light some company news, offer discounts, promote a new product or service using the white space to print targeted marketing messages to your customer is cheap advertising, after all you’re printing the invoice use up the white space and be specific.

Even if its telling your customers to find you on social media – facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+ it’s a great way to remind your customers that aside of paying your bill you also provide other services and you want to engage with them.

You might want to target a particular audience with a personalised message and as you’ve already paid for the paper, the envelope and the postage why not use the invoice and personalise it with marketing messages.

Mailing solutions

Invoice printing can easily be outsourced and there are a number of mailing solutions including print-2-mail

All of the above takes time, costs money and is fairly labour intensive automating the process is a consideration and the days of cost benefits associated with high volume billing runs are long gone.

Even if you send out a few hundred bills a month there are some cost advantages to be had.

If you want to discuss some or any of the above please call us and we will advise you as to the best solution to suit your budget and your business needs.

Finally, we like to engage with our audience so please do take the time to:-

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